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Ben Lomand connects with championship
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When Ben Lomand and Sonic met in the championship game of the girls 9-10 junior league tournament, runs figured to be scarce.
That wasn’t the case despite Madison Cantrell and Marah Wanamaker, two of the league’s top pitchers, squaring off in the circle. Ben Lomand used eight hits to claim the tournament title with a 9-4 victory.
Before the game, the only count most people thought would reach double digits was strikeouts, not runs scored. But Ben Lomand opened the game with a run in the first, only to see Sonic score two in the bottom of the first.
A three-run third inning, followed by three more runs in the fourth, powered Ben Lomand to the tournament title, which followed a regular-season championship for the squad.
Wanamaker struck out the first two batters in the first inning, seemingly starting the pitcher’s duel. But Cantrell came through with a single and Annaston McBride knocked a triple to the left-field fence to put Ben Lomand up 1-0.
Cantrell couldn’t hold the lead long. MaKenna Mason started the inning with a single, the first hit surrendered by Cantrell in tournament play.
After two stolen bases, Mason would come in to score on a grounder by Wanamaker. Mason slid under a tag at home as Wood tried to make the out following the slow roller to shortstop.
Wanamaker also reached scoring position with two stolen bases and would eventually score on a sacrifice fly by Katie Pennington to give Sonic a 2-1 lead.
Wanamaker struck out the side in the second inning, giving Sonic a chance to add to its lead.
Icie Mae Craven reached on an error to begin the bottom of the second and scored shortly after on an RBI groundout by Linley Wanamaker.
Trailing 3-1, Ben Lomand put together a rally in the third to take the lead. Wood began the surge with a single, then stole three bases to score.
Walks put Calyn Damon and Cantrell on base before McBride put Ben Lomand ahead with one swing. McBride brought around her two teammates with a double, making it 4-3 in favor of Ben Lomand.
Sonic didn’t stay behind long. Mason started the third with her second single and stole two more bases to get 60 feet from scoring. Mason scored on a groundout by Marah Wanamaker, tying the game at 4-4.
Cantrell broke the tie and put Ben Lomand in the lead for good when she hit a two-out, two-run double in the top of the fourth to score Wood and Chloe Pennington. Ben Lomand tacked on another run when Cantrell scored on an error, making it 7-4.
Cantrell started to assert her dominance in the circle in the fourth. Two straight strikeouts, followed by a pop out to first base, got Cantrell out of the inning quickly. It was part of a streak where Cantrell retired eight straight Sonic batters.
A bases-loaded walk to Zoye Henry and RBI single by Wood in the fifth proved to be the final runs.
Cantrell finished her outing by retiring Sonic in the fifth, including forcing a ground out with two runners in scoring position for the final out.
Wood locked down the win in the sixth when she retired Sonic in order to finish the game.
Cantrell earned the victory, pitching five innings and allowing four runs on two hits while striking out six.
Cantrell, McBride and Wood each had two hits for Ben Lomand. Brianna Young and Grayson Hillis added one hit apiece.
Mason led Sonic with two hits in the championship. Shonacye Rutledge and Samantha Ramsey chipped in one hit each.
Sonic earned a spot in the championship game Tuesday by defeating Roger’s Service 9-6 shortly before the finals started.
Wanamaker and Craven had two hits each in the victory. Rutledge added one hit. Wanamaker, Mason and Rutledge combined to pitch a one-hitter against Roger’s Service as Ashton Whiles singled in the first inning. Whiles took the loss, pitching six innings and striking out 14.